Marah In The Mainsail are touring hard and stopped by the First Ave Mainroom on Friday night. They are out on record label Last Triumph’s yearly “The Take Off Tour”, touring their way down to Austin TX and SXSW. The bill also included Good Morning Bedlam, Farewell Milwaukee and Reina Del Cid.
First up were Good Morning Bedlam. These hometown favorites brought the fun. The band blends elements of many different genres into a gumbo of exuberant sound that had the Mainroom dancing like no one was looking. They engaged the audience with story-songs, and their passion was contagious. Sophia Mae brings it on the violin, laying down lightening fast riffs like a guitar hero one minute, and soulful atmospherics the next.
Farewell Milwaukee, another Minneapolis band, came on the stage next. They have been around for a decade, and this maturity shows. The band was tight and polished, yet still seemed to be ecstatic about playing the Mainroom. These guys definitely had a classic rock vibe on Friday night. But is it rock or is it classic country? Son Volt meets the Eagles. It is authentic, that’s for sure. Some of the standouts of the set were “Figure You Out” and “Caught In The Abyss”
Marah In The Mainsail came on right around 10. The band opened strong with crowd favorite “Black Mamba”. They had a huge sound and a huge presence. The unique composition of the band creates a deeply nuanced sound without being overly complicated. The alluring texture is somehow not lost in the booming reverberation of the drums. Austin Durry and Mariah Mercedes beautiful vocal harmonies highlighted the fantastical lyrics that took the packed Mainroom on a journey to other worlds.
The music was sophisticated yet approachable, with a beat that had the crowd dancing. “The Great Beyond” was a slow burner at its start, but hurled forward into a cosmos of pandemonium. This show was hard rock opera, and you could tell there was a real connection with the crowd, like the band was playing for a room full of friends. Highlight of the set was the booming head banger “Everybody Knows”. Everybody in the Mainroom knew this was a killer tune as they fist pumped in unison. Percussionist Austin Wilder was like a manic bandleader as he stalked the stage wearing a bass drum and beating it like it owed him money.
Setlist: Black Mamba – Foxhole – Fisticuffs – Femme Fatale – See No Evil – The Great Beyond – Bone Crown – Graveyard – Everybody Knows – Your Ghost
Closing out the Minnesota music fest was Reina Del Sid. The vibe was decidedly different than the other bands of the evening. And while the music was moodier and dark, with songs about addiction and loneliness, Del Sid was smiling and engaging with the audience. Mentioning that it was her birthday, she showed off the necklace given to her that evening by her Mom. She subtly crooned to the crowd as the band boiled away behind her. The Mainroom was totally entranced by the music, caught up in the images projected on their brains as Reina waxes poetic from the stage.
Friday night proved that a strong and vibrant music scene is thriving in the Twin Cities and all of these bands will proudly represent Minneapolis down in Austin at SXSW.